South Sudan marks five years since outbreak of war

A tank of the South Sudan army traveling towards Bor from Juba in 2014 (File/Supplied/Nyamilelepedia)

December 15th, 2018 (Nyamilepedia) – South Sudan which gained its independence from Sudan in July 2011 to be the world’s youngest nation has today marked five years since the outbreak of the ongoing civil war.

During the evening hours of December 15th, 2013, messages circulated on Twitter and Facebook of a fighting in the Southern barrack of Al-Qaida near Juba University.

Early in the day, Dr. Riek Machar, former Vice-President, suspended SPLM Secretary-General Pagan Amum along with Dr. John Garang’s widow, Rebecca Garang, voted to boycott or did not show up during the second day of the National Liberation Council meeting of the ruling SPLM.

The trio said there was no respect for senior SPLM members when they failed to show up for the second day of the NLC meeting.

Kiir then reportedly ordered his force commander of the Presidential Guards Marial Chinuong, to return to Al-Qiada and disarm the battalion on the suspicion that Machar was planning to overthrow him.

The disarmament which later happened to be partial with the Dinka members of the battalion being rearmed later caused fighting between the Nuer and the Dinka members of the battalion.

The fighting continued for few hours in Al-Qiada and later spread to the SPLA general headquarters in Bilpam and continued to the following day.

On the morning of December 16, Kiir dressed in military uniform announced on the state-owned South Sudan Television (SSTV) that he has just aborted a coup he said was planned by Machar and his colleagues.

Following the announcement that there was a coup attempt, SPLA soldiers went door-to-door to most Juba districts killing Nuer innocent civilians of what every sex.

The killings which resulted to the death of 20, 000 Nuer civilians within those three days sparked protests among top army generals of ethnic Nuer with Gen. Peter Gatdet Yaka declaring he will be fighting the Juba government over the massacre.

The fighting later when on and was then followed by wakes of revenge attacks and later the conflict became the South Sudanese Civil War.

A peace agreement was signed in August 2015 but collapsed in July the following year following a fighting between guards loyal to President Kiir and those loyal to the  First Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar.

Kiir was blamed by a United Nations report published in September 2016 for instigating the latest fighting which failed the agreement.

A revitalized version of the peace signed in 2015 was signed in September by the government and opposition groups in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa as part of IGAD effort to end the war.